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#182675 - 09/20/09 03:10 PM So You're Going To Buy A SAT-Phone?
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Assuming (That can be trouble. wink ) you might be in an area of limited/non-existent cell coverage, what SAT-Phone would you purchase/rent, and what service provider would you use?

This will be mostly used for non-routine calls, but for more than just emergencies.

I know there has been discussion about companies loosing satellites, so that is also a concern. The primary coverage areas needed will be on the North American Continent from the Rio Grande to as far north as Canada & Alaska.

My Concerns:
Handset Cost
Handset Reliability
Provider Reliability (Not about to go out of business)
Network Coverage
Network Reliability
Airtime Cost

Thanks for all the help!

_________________________
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.

RIP OBG

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#182677 - 09/20/09 03:57 PM Re: So You're Going To Buy A SAT-Phone? [Re: Desperado]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
You can rent....
_________________________
Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

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#182679 - 09/20/09 04:01 PM Re: So You're Going To Buy A SAT-Phone? [Re: Todd W]
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
And that may be the choice I make. I am just trying to find folks with practical experience.
_________________________
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.

RIP OBG

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#182680 - 09/20/09 04:30 PM Re: So You're Going To Buy A SAT-Phone? [Re: Desperado]
yelp Offline
Member

Registered: 06/04/08
Posts: 172
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Desperado
This will be mostly used for non-routine calls, but for more than just emergencies.


For these circumstances in Alaska I've rented Iridium handsets with prepaid minutes. You'll have to shop around as providers' plans seem to change from season to season, but prepaid minutes are typically cheaper than by-the-duration-of-the-call plan. There are also plans that have free SMS and / or voice mail.

One problem with the prepaid minute route - it can take 10-15 minutes to 'recharge' your phone, so apply more time well in advance of your anticipated need.

The only reliability issue I've had is with a poor antenna connection; when attached to a fixed-mount antenna (coax feeder), the phone would occasionally reboot. I think something in the antenna collar was shorting out as the coax flexed, but I don't know. That happened only with one particular phone and I haven't heard of it happening to anybody else.

I haven't had a problem with coverage yet.
_________________________
(posting this as someone that has unintentionally done a bunch of stupid stuff in the past and will again...)

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#182684 - 09/20/09 06:25 PM Re: So You're Going To Buy A SAT-Phone? [Re: Desperado]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 2097
For reasonable reliability and service, at this time, Iridium is the only game in town. Globalstar still doesn't have a full constellation available. Rent or buy is just a matter of economics. Note that Iridium has a new somewhat smaller and reportedly more robust and better performing phone. If renting, make sure you are getting current or 2nd gen phones, Lots of the original 1st gen phones still out there.
_________________________
Doug Ritter
Editor
Equipped To Survive®
Chairman & Executive Director
Equipped To Survive Foundation
www.KnifeRights.org
www.DougRitter.com

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#182700 - 09/20/09 10:41 PM Re: So You're Going To Buy A SAT-Phone? [Re: Doug_Ritter]
SwampDonkey Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
At work we had a truck based Sat phone 12 years ago called an M-Sat, it was expensive and like talking on a poor radio. We then got handheld 1st generation Iridiums, they worked but the GlobalStar units were much better. So about 6 years ago we bought GlobalStars, they worked well for about 4 years then really cr*pped out and I could not place a call for about a year! Last year we went back to Iridium handheld units and they have been working fine so far.

Mike

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